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Ko chases Singapore title

SINGAPORE (AFP) — Lydia Ko said Tuesday she cannot afford to become “too cocky” even though she is world number one and among the favorites at this week’s Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

The 25-year-old New Zealander, who got married in December, enjoyed a blissful start to the year when she won in Saudi Arabia a fortnight ago.

But while she has been in red-hot form and is the reigning LPGA player of the year, the Women’s World Championship has so far eluded her.

“You can never get too cocky about what ranked player you are because it’s so tight at the top,” Ko said ahead of the tournament, which starts on Thursday at Sentosa Golf Club.

“Everyone is playing really well and you can’t say, ‘I’m going to be there forever,’” said the Kiwi, who finished tied sixth last week in Thailand.

“When I was younger, I felt like being number one meant that I had to be winning or contending week in, week out, but that’s not necessarily true,” she added.

“Everybody is going to have their ups and downs but you have to manage that by making sure those lows aren’t super-low and you don’t get too high from the highs.”

Ko’s best result in Singapore came in the 2015 edition where she finished second, and knows acing her short game will be the formula to success this week.

“Putting well is obviously going to be important here, especially when you have those birdie opportunities or when you need to make those ups and downs,” she said.

“So having to put together four rounds where there’s going to be a little bit more consistency in putting is going to be a big key for me,” she said.

Like Ko, Brooke Henderson has also got her campaign off to a winning start, triumphing at the LPGA’s season-opening event in Orlando, Florida.

The Canadian has now captured at least one title in eight of her nine seasons on the LPGA and is looking forward to continuing that winning run in Singapore.

“It was a dream start. I’m trying to make small improvements all the time and trying to get a little bit better,” said the 25-year-old.

Also among the contenders will be South Korea’s Ko Jin-young.

She hopes her mental training will pay off as she seeks to become the first player to successfully defend her title at the tournament.

“I know there’s going to be pressure but I don’t want to think too much about it,” she said.

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